Discounts few and far between on big retail weekend

It’s no wonder so many shoppers were not impressed with some of the big holiday deals being offered by big retailers this past week.

Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Jet did not heavily discount most popular products and prices actually increased in key categories after Black Friday, cementing a perception that the two celebrated shopping days are waning in importance, according to research from Boomerang Commerce, which aggregated and analyzed online price discounts and price perception for 1,000 popular products sold by Walmart, Target, Amazon and Jet.

The report shows how each retailer shifted discounts and moved relative prices over the course of 10 days as they sought to win customers and compete against each other on the days leading up to Black Friday, throughout Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday.

Among the key observations:

• Black Friday and Cyber Monday prices were nothing special. Retailers did not significantly discount the vast majority of popular products.

• Amazon’s prices dropped on Thanksgiving Day and then continued to increase through Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

• Walmart’s and Target’s prices dropped prior to Thanksgiving, remained lower during early Black Friday and then increased later that day, surpassing pre-Black Friday prices.

What’s more, the average offer prices of products sold by these major retailers remained remarkably stable during the period. For Amazon, the average discount across prices was 2.5% or less for the entire shopping period. For Walmart, the average discount was 3.6% or less. Target showed the deepest discounts on average price across items, with 6.8% or less from the day before Thanksgiving through the day after Black Friday.

The lack of downward movement on average prices suggests that, aside from a handful of big discounts, the retailers did not significant discount the vast majority of their products.

“Shoppers are no longer seeing the same depth and variety of discounts,” said Guru Hariharan, CEO and founder of Boomerang. “Our data proves this is actually the case –Black Friday and Cyber Monday no longer offer blockbuster discounts to consumers.”
 
In other findings:
   
• In the toys category, Target competed the most closely with Amazon.   In particular post Black Friday Target became very competitive and undercut Amazon through Cyber Monday. In contrast, Walmart’s prices remained the highest with an average of 12% higher than Amazon throughout the entire period and never dropped deep to match Amazon’s aggressive prices.

• In housewares, Target’s prices stayed in close range (within 5%) of Amazon’s and dropped below Amazon before Cyber Monday.

• In contrast Walmart’s prices never closed the PPI gap with Amazon and actually increased on Cyber Monday ending the day with 16% higher than Amazon.

• In video games & movies, Walmart and Target undercut Amazon’s prices on Thanksgiving Day and continued to do so throughout Black Friday. After Black Friday Target’s prices increased above Amazon’s while Walmart stayed highly competitive with 6% below Amazon throughout Cyber Monday.

Despite the recorded disparities in pricing, for the most part these differences were 10% or less of the total PPI average. This slim disparity indicated that the retailers, in general, were not aggressively discounting against each other, according to Boomerang.

Additionally, Amazon, Walmart and Target had different levels of price dynamism on Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Target held prices steady throughout both days on 91% of products and Walmart kept steady prices on 70% of the products analyzed. Amazon held steady prices only on 39% of the products. This indicates that Amazon continues to dynamically price products even on important shopping days.

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